Isaac Watts on John Calvin's view of atonement
The purpose of this post is primarily to show how the heretic Isaac Watts understood John Calvin's view of the atonement. Watts writes:
"Here let it be observed, that when the Remonstrants assert, that Christ died for all mankind, merely to purchase conditional salvation for them, and when those who profess to be the strictest Calvinists assert Christ died only and merely to procure absolute and effectual pardon and salvation for the elect; it is not because the whole Scripture every where expressly or plainly reveals, or asserts, the particular sentiments of either of these sects, with an exclusion of the other; but the reason of these different assertions of men is this, that the holy writers, in different texts, pursuing different subjects, and speaking to different persons, sometimes seem to favour each of these two opinions, and men being at a loss to reconcile them by any medium, run into different extremes, and entirely follow one of these tracks of thought, and neglect the other.
But surely, if there can be found a way to reconcile these two doctrines of the absolute salvation of the elect, by the obedience, righteousness and death of Christ procuring it for them, with all things necessary to the possession of it, and also of the conditional salvation provided for all mankind, and offered to them in the gospel through the all-sufficient and overflowing value of the obedience and sufferings of Christ; this will be the most fair, natural and easy way of reconciling these different texts of Scripture, without any strain or torture put upon any of them.
Nor indeed can I conceive why the remonstrant should be uneasy to have pardon and salvation absolutely provided for the elect, since all the rest of mankind, especially such as hear the gospel, have the same conditional salvation which they contend for, sincerely proposed to their acceptance; nor can I see any reason, why the strictest Calvinist should be angry, that the all sufficient merit of Christ should overflow so far in its influence, as to provide conditional salvation for all mankind, since the elect of God have that certain and absolute salvation, which they contend for, secured to them by the same merit; and especially since that great and admirable reformer, John Calvin, whose name they affect to wear, and to whose authority they pay so great a regard, has so plainly declared in his writings, that there is a sense in which Christ died for the sins of the whole world, or all mankind; and he sometimes goes so far as to call this the redemption of all. See his comments on the following Scriptures:
Matth. xxvvi. 8. 'This is my blood of the new testament, which was shed for many for the remission of sins...'Under the name of many, he signifies not a part of the world only, but all mankind.'
Rom. v. 18. 'As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all to condemnation, so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life'...'He makes this grace common to all, because it is set before all, though not really and in fact reached out to all. For though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and he is offered indifferently to all by the bounty of God, yet all do not receive him.'
i Cor. viii. 11,12. 'Through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died?' On which Calvin remarks thus: 'If the soul of every weak person person was the purchase of the blood of Christ, he that for the sake of a little meat, plunges his brother again into death who was redeemed by Christ, shews at how mean a rate he esteems the blood of Christ.'
1 John ii. 2. He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.' 'Here a question is raised, How can the sins of the whole world be expiated? Some have said, Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but effectually for the elect alone. This is the common solution of the schools: And though I confess this is a truth, yet I do not think it agrees to this place.'
2 Pet. ii. i. 'There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction...' 'That is, though Christ is denied many ways, yet in my opinion Peter means the fame thing here which Jude expresses, viz. that the grace of God is turned into wantonness: for Christ hath redeemed us, that he might have a people free from all the defilements of the world, and devoted to holiness and innocence: Whosoever therefore shake off the yoke, and throw themselves into all licentiousness, are justly said to deny Christ, by whom they were redeemed.'
Jude, verse 4. 'Turning the grace of our God into wantonness, and denying the only Lord God, and Jesus Christ our Lord.' 'The apostle here means that Christ is denied, when these who were redeemed with his blood, again enslave themselves to the devil, and, as far as in them lies, make that incomparable price vain and ineffectual.'
Thus it appears, that Calvin himself thought that Christ and his salvation are offered to all, and that in some sense he died for all" (Isaac Watts, SOURCE; underlining mine).